Dorothy Adair jokes so many people say she’s amazing, she’s thinking about changing her name to Grace. At 104 years of age and turning 105 soon, she still enjoys full independence in her own home. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Dorothy Adair jokes so many people say she’s amazing, she’s thinking about changing her name to Grace. At 104 years of age and turning 105 soon, she still enjoys full independence in her own home. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Adair a newcomer to Chemainus at 104 years old

Not many people her age relocate, but she also just had a knee replacement a year ago

Among the newcomers relocating to Chemainus the past few months are recent retirees, some young families and a 104-year-old woman. Wait, what?

Yes, you read that right. Not many people live to 104, never mind uprooting themselves from what would surely be a comfort zone at that age. But Dorothy Adair, who is actually getting close to turning 105 on Feb. 11, did that during May, moving all the way from Ontario where she’s been all her life to Chemainus.

Adair and her husband Joseph, who died 28 years ago, never had any children. But relatives from Adair’s four brothers living in Port Alberni convinced her to make a permanent home on the Island.

“They were so worried about me, they decided they wanted me out here,” she explained. “They wanted to look after me.”

There’s still a fair bit of distance between them, but nothing like before. They make it work.

Adair shrugs about the move. It was no big deal, just a matter of getting used to new people in a different community. She has already traveled back to Ontario once for a two-week visit from Sept. 28 to Oct. 12 since coming to Chemainus.

“I stayed in five different places while I was there with friends,” she said.

Adair and her husband were both long-time educators. Her obvious intellect might be one factor to account for such longevity, but there’s no indication of it in her family history.

“I never dreamed of anything like that,” she conceded.

“People seem to be living longer, I don’t know what’s the answer.”

Adair tries to pinpoint some of the possible explanations. A sense of humour is one thing that helps.

Adair said people tell her she’s ‘Amazing’ so much that “I’m going to change my name to Grace.”

And what about being the middle child among those two older and two younger brothers? “I always said the middle of the sandwich was the best anyways,” she chuckled.

Adair said she never smoked in her life, never took as much as a single puff of a cigarette ever. She was always just a casual drinker and still has the occasional glass of wine.

Adair’s eyesight is affected by macular degeneration and she has some difficulty hearing, but, hey, she’s 104.

She praises her longtime family doctor Dr. Peter D’Angelo from North York, Ont. “He’s a wonderful person,” Adair said. “I had him for over 30 years.”

D’Angelo referred her to Dr. Shawn Garbedian, an orthopedic surgeon, to have a right knee replacement just last year on Nov. 13.

“That’s not the best day to have it,” Adair said, being the 13th. But at least it wasn’t a Friday and it worked out fine, as she made history at the same time with the knee replacement.

“They said we set a record at the North York hospital, for the oldest person this age since the hospital opened,” she confided.

The risk factors were obviously magnified for Adair because of her age, but she wanted to go ahead no matter what.

“I said I’ve lived to a good age; if this is it, this is it,” she remarked.

It was far from ‘it’ and Adair is doing better than ever. She had her left knee replacement done 10 years ago.

“As far as the knees are concerned, I got over it well,” Adair indicated. “I’d advise anyone to have it – get over that pain.”

Tonsillitis and undergoing a hysterectomy are about the only other health incidents she’s had in her life of any consequence.

“I’ve had wonderful health, I thank God every night for that.”

Adair’s memory is razor sharp and she recounts the details of her life with little difficulty. She was born in the small community of Rannoch, Ontario, but considers nearby St. Mary’s as more like her original home and also where she attended and taught school.

Adair had a 39-year career in teaching before retiring in her late 50s. She and her husband traveled extensively during their years together, stepping onto every continent except Antarctica.

“We got to Mainland China,” she recalled. “I think that was one of the highlights.

“Actually, it was the most fascinating trip we had, really. I saw the Great Wall in the distance and I was so excited to know I’d be on it.”

Adair is loving the people of Chemainus she’s met. The gang at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce downtown is just great, she said, and the people at the Chemainus 55+ Activity Centre always treat her right.

Adair isn’t used to that small-town fuss, having lived in the Toronto area for so long.

“I go down to the bank here now and they call me by my first name,” she said.

“Boy, this is different,” Adair recalled thinking during her earliest visits.

“They’re just lovely there.”

Just Posted

A Saanich man received almost 10 years in Supreme Court in Courtenay for a shooting incident from 2018. Record file photo
Shooting incident north of Courtenay nets almost 10-year sentence

Richard Daniel Vigneault was arrested without incident and faced 16 counts

Danielle Egilson has been awarded a $40,000 post-secondary scholarship with The Cmolik Foundation. Photo supplied
Student from Courtenay’s Vanier Secondary lands prestigious scholarship

Cmolik Foundation provides opportunities for youth who’ve experienced adversity

Poverty is a sad reality for some people in the Comox Valley. Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
Project takes a hard look at poverty in the Comox Valley

Objective is to reduce poverty in the Comox Valley by 25 per cent over four years

Dr. Aref Tabarsi, a general pathologist at the North Island Hospital Campbell River Hospital Medical Laboratory, spoke about the issue of service in the region at a meeting in February 2020. Black Press file photo
Comox Strathcona hospital board wants pathology service back

Board supports move for chair, vice-chair to engage with Island Health on issue

Comox town hall. Black Press file photo
Comox approves 2021 tax rates

Homeowners can expect a 4.95 per cent in their residential tax rates this year

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
MISSING: Salt Spring RCMP find woman’s car, still seek Island resident

Sinikka Gay Elliott is 5’3” with a slim build and dark brown short hair

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Most Read